Road Test Review – 2015 Hyundai Accent GLS Sedan Is Stylish, Quiet and Smooth with 37MPG

In the compact segment, buyers want a brand-new car with all the tech, safety and reliability of a mid-size, but the efficiency and low entry price of around $15,000.

The Accent is lightly refreshed for 2015 with many more premium features than is the norm for the segment, plus added interior refinement and some top-line trim details that are truly stylish. Available in as the GLS sedan or two levels of five-door, the Accent is one of the most grown-up cars in its class. Real sedan style is even possible – which is not something many would say about the frumpy Ford Fiesta or Chevy Sonic four-doors.

Other prime competitors are the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Mazda2.

On paper, the Accent is a clear winner on most tallies — power, equipment and roominess are all either class-best or tied with the best.

But how does the Accent feel in the real world?

Let’s explore this newly-stylish sedan in a full review with the headings Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.



The Hyundai Accent sedan moves upmarket very convincingly for 2015. The GLS sedan tested here has the two available options specced: the popular equipment pack and the style pack. These upgrade the headlamps to projectors for the low-beams, plus add a flashy set of white DRLs lining the bottom of the lamp. This makes the Accent the only model in its class to have modern and premium DRLs.

It is a great look for the car, honestly, with an ultra-bright daytime setting a slightly dimmed night-time setup.

Adding the two option packages adds $1200 to the price of the car but is well worth it for the 15-inch alloy wheels. These are up a size from the base 14-inch wheel covers. The double five-spoke design is classy, with painted wheel internals plus a polished surface. This is another class exclusive for the Accent — no other car has this cool GTI-style finish on its wheels.

The biggest advantage of the GLS sedan over its competition as well as the Accent 5-Door is that most people the car competes with cars from a class above. It is a cool style, with a pert and clean nose with and imprint of a full-frame grille and smooth intakes around the upper and lower bumper sections.

To the side, the Accent has a nicely pinched surfacing line arcing up from the front axle and into the rear shoulder of the car. The Accent does not look awkward in pure profile, with a handsome roofline and glasshouse that is mostly functional, but also best-in-class for sedan C-pillar treatment.

The design in the rear angles is remarkably handsome as well. Where the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta have tiny and tall trunks looking frumpy from all sides, the Accent has a big-car look in back. There is a shade of BMW in the integrated trunk edge forming a modest spoiler.

Simple flush-mounted lights are basic bulb units, but there is some Euro cool in the lower reflectors in the bumper.


Inside the Accent, the popular equipment and style packs are also pretty critical.

These upgrade the cloth to a more premium material, plus add gloss black inserts around the gear-level and center stack.

The steering wheel is also a highlight – with a nice leather wrap that is unusual at this price, plus some nice sculpting for the metallic spokes. Controls for cruise, bluetooth phone calls and media are all on the wheel, which is fully adjustable.

The dashboard itself is wrapped in a rubberized and slightly textured material that feels new and pretty touchable, as does the media console with its snicky buttons.

The big impression you have inside is that the ride and refinement feel Corolla-esque. The Accent GLS is very refined on the move, with almost no engine harshness or wind noise. The seats have good comfort but do not adjust low enough for our preference.

The main gripe we have with all small cars is a bit of an issue with the Accent as well: the center armrest is too small to get comfortable on, and the seats themselves are very close to one another. You can bump elbows if both people have broad shoulders.

Even so, it is a comfortable place to be. An ActiveEco setting via dashboard button increases fuel economy fairly dramatically, making the 27/38-mpg stats very do-able in real driving.



As you can see in the tech specs comparison with other cars in the Accent’s class, the Hyundai is well-positioned to be one of the quickest and sportiest.

137 horsepower from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder peaks at 6300-rp, while 123-pound-feet of torque comes in just before 5000 rpm.

These are both down by 1 and 3, respectively, versus the Chevy Sonic class-leader.

A six-speed manual is standard, with the automatic we tested a fairly pricey $1000 option. It is a good unit, though. A six-speed with a torque converter, the Accent joins the Sonic and Fiesta as class leaders in the transmission count. The Honda Fit is a CVT auto, while the Yaris, Versa and 2014 Mazda2 all run ancient four-speed automatics.

On hard throttle, the Accent is fairly urgent in gaining speed. It is not a sports-car in its acceleration, with an estimated 8.8-seconds to 60 mph. Having the powerful AC on does not appear to dent its pace much, which is nice and handy for hot climates.

The Accent on these larger wheels has some good grip around corners, but the light steering is a bit vague at low speeds. At around 50-mph upward, the steering becomes firm and planted, with little adjustment needed to stay straight ahead on the interstate.


Tech Specifications Comparison

2015Accent 2015Fit 2015Fiesta 2015
2015Versa 2015Sonic 2014Mazda2
Engine 1.6-liter I4 1.5-liter I4 1.6-liter I4 1.5-liter I4 1.6-liter I4 1.8-liter I4 1.5-liter I4
GDI Yes Yes No No No No No
HP @ RPM 137 @ 6,300 130 @ 6,600 120 @ 6,350 106 @ 6,000 109 @ 6,000 138 @ 6,300 100 @ 6,000
Specific output(HP/Liter) 86 87 75 71 61 77 67
Torque @ RPM 123 @ 4,850 114 @ 4,800 112 @ 5,000 103 @ 4,200 107 @ 4,400 125 @ 3,800 98 @4,000
Transaxle 6MT or 6AT 5MT or CVT 5MT or 6AT 5MT or 4AT 5MT or 4AT 5MT or 6AT 5MT or 4AT
MPG (City/Hwy) (M/T)1 27/38 29/37 28/ 36 30/37 27/36 26/35 29/35



The loaded Accent GLS sedan we tested comes in at $17,970 including destination charge, which is positively fantastic. Many other cars in the compact class are kissing $20k by the time you’ve added the good options. We do wish the Accent had a full navigation system, but the display audio setup with aux jack and USB sync will do the trick for most people.






Accent GLS Sedan

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Manual Transmission


Accent GLS Sedan

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC®


Accent GS Hatchback

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Manual Transmission


Accent GS Hatchback

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC®


Accent Sport Hatchback

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Manual Transmission


Accent Sport Hatchback

1.6L GDI

6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC®



Every compact car wants to be big. But most cannot help but feel tiny on the highway and too-tall from all sides.

The Accent avoids these traps with a low and handsome sedan design, refinement to rival the Corolla and Sentra, and back-seat space that is close to the Honda Civic.

These are all great things for a loaded compact.

The additional cool points for the LED lighting and diamond-cut alloys are just gravy — making the smooth and quiet-driving Accent a touch of class versus its competitors.

The solid safety ratings and bulletproof factory warranty only sweeten the deal. A solid A- car that is easy to recommend for those seeking the best of all worlds for under $18k.

Check out the colors and price out an Accent over on below.





Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)